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Things to do in Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer's golden city, which looks like a mirage, conjures up images of the One Thousand and One Nights. The most notable feature of this former medieval trading center in Rajasthan's Thar Desert is the abundance of buildings built from the distinctive yellow sandstone, making any location here picture perfect. Jaisalmer is located as far west as most of India. Incredibly dry, hot, and isolated. So what draws people to the city just a stone's throw from the Pakistani border? The best visit to this golden city from September to mid-March is to escape the scorching desert heat of summer. The Jaisalmer Desert Festival is usually held in February which is an absolute treat.
Jaisalmer has plenty of camel safari options for any time of day. There are many famous sand dunes for exciting camel rides into the desert. If you're looking for something more remote, safaris can be arranged in lesser-known parts of the Thar Desert. You can observe the sand dunes, wild insects, changes in the appearance of desert animals, changes in the color of the sky, and more throughout the day. You can spend a night stargazing at the camp and wake up early to enjoy a stunning sunrise before heading back to the city. This is the most unique one in Jaisalmer.
Unlike many other famous forts in India that charge up to 800 rupees ($12-14) to enter, Jaisalmer Fort is free to enter. This is because it's the same as any other neighborhood, except for the magnificent historic fortress. Therefore, there are no closing or opening hours, no guards, and a calm atmosphere. Fortresses are usually overrun with tourists, guards, tickets, and bureaucrats, but here it feels like a community. We explored the entire fort, inspecting rustic jewelry stores and admiring beautifully woven textiles and carpets. Shopping didn't seem to be one of Jaisalmer's most popular things to do, but handicrafts and textiles are sold all over India and are beautifully made in Jaisalmer.
The five-story Tazia Tower was built by Muslim craftsmen in 1886 as a gift to Hindu ruler Mahalawal Belisal Singh. It's an impressive sight jutting out from the grounds of the Badar Palace, a departure from the traditional Rajasthani and Rajputana architecture show. Another location in Jaisalmer. Located near the Amar Sagar Gate, Tazia Tower features individually designed balconies on each of its five floors, and the entire structure is built to mimic a traditional Islamic mausoleum.
Gadisar Lake is one of Jaisalmer's most popular attractions. This artificial reservoir was built by Maharawal Gadsi Singh in 1367 and named after him. Boating here is one of the refreshing activities in Jaisalmer and also one of the best in Jaisalmer. Enjoy the spectacular surroundings and enjoy a fun cruise on this sparkling lake with family and friends.
Bada Bagh, which translates to “big garden” is one of the most peaceful places in Jaisalmer. The entrance fee is 100 rupees and when we arrived in the morning there was not a single tourist. In essence, Bada Bagh is a cemetery. Many years ago, the founders of Jaisalmer commissioned a dam to build a water storage tank on the site. This meant that it was the only green space in the area all year round. This is also why there is a lake next to Bada Bagh, which appears to be in the middle of a vast desert. Hence the name Badr Bagh, or 'The Great Garden'. The Maharaja built a memorial to his father on the hill, and many other memorials to important figures were built afterwards. A cenotaph is a small temple or tribute statue for a deceased relative. This is one of the most unique points of Jaisalmer.
Patwaon Ki Haveli
A haveli is basically a mansion, and when wealthy people build it, they do it in style. Jaisalmer has plenty of havelis to explore and we were asked to pay to enter them but decided the view outside was enough. Havelis are all over the city, but if you're looking specifically for one of the best havelis, one is Patwaon Ki Haveli.
Baa Ri Haveli
Baa Ri Haveli is a 450-year-old haveli that once belonged to a Brahmin priest who lived in the area. Today, the haveli has been transformed into a museum, with artifacts from different eras displayed on multiple floors. From the architecture to the interior of the building, it is beautifully preserved, and you can feel the flow of time when you walk through the old private house. There is an open courtyard surrounded by different levels of the building, with open sky views from all sides. Here you can also get an up close look at traditional fabrics, beautifully crafted wooden furniture, homewares from a bygone era, and what Jaisalmer can do.
Rajasthan is full of vibrant shopping opportunities. And shopping in the fortified city is one of the best things to do in Jaisalmer for shopaholics. There are so many options and types of handcrafted products such as clothing, jewellery, accessories, bags and shoes. So shopping is one of the best things to do in Jaisalmer. Some of the local bazaars are Sadar Bazaar, Bhatia Bazaar, Manak Chowk, Pansari Bazaar (oldest market of Jaisalmer).
The Khuri Dunes are sparsely populated but as beautiful as the Sam Dunes. Ever-changing dunes, soft white sands and a surprisingly barren landscape make for the perfect desert vacation. Here you can go on long camel safaris, experience breathtaking sunsets and even more beautiful sunrises. Camping in an open space under the stars is an unforgettable experience. Of all the things to do in Jaisalmer, camping at the Kouri Sand Dunes is one of the most rewarding, especially for nature lovers, photographers and adventurers.
Cultural Show at Sam Dunes
To experience the true Jaisalmeri culture in its purest form, there is no better place than a cultural show at Sam Dunes. As the sun sets, this remote desert destination transforms into a festival of lights, dance performances, fun performances and colourful costumes. As the temperature drops after sunset, you can light a campfire to warm yourself up and enjoy delicious Rajasthani cuisine. If you love exploring local culture and mingling with other travellers, this is one of the most fun things to do in Jaisalmer.
If you still think dune bashing is a popular Gulf and Arab adventure sport, think again. The Thar desert area near Jaisalmer is also considered an ideal place for dune driving and off-road driving. The Sam Dunes are home to thousands of adventure junkies who crave these sports and make them part of their trip to Jaisalmer. The name Jaisalmer itself expresses vibrancy and charm. It floods the mind with a true sense of culture on the one hand and a royal frenzy on the other. The colours of sunlight, yellow sand, pink and red fortresses, royal palaces and Arabian night dances will take your breath away.
Bhang Lassi Shop
The best way to describe van lassi is that it's a cannabis-infused yoghourt drink with a hint of sweetness. There are several locations throughout Jaisalmer, including state-approved shops that serve this particular drink. You can buy everything from bhang lassi to soft drinks and buns with bhang. A visit to a Bhang Lassi shop is a great way to discover Jaisalmer's very colourful culture. Here everyone can be seen enjoying ban lassi and its different varieties: sadhus, foreigners and locals alike. Make sure you have to try this drink responsibly. We also have the most unique things to do in Jaisalmer.
The enchanting royal capital of Jaisalmer is also a foodie's paradise. The spicy taste and cuisine of Jaisalmer will amaze you and make you want to eat more delicious food and dishes here. This royal capital also offers some royal foods to its visitors. Pyaaz ki kachori is a fried dish usually served with hot khadi, aloo sabji or green chutney. One of Jaisalmer's most popular and delicious snacks - this meal is flavorful and very tempting. One of the most delicious dishes of Jaisalmer, dal bhati chorma is an unparalleled and authentic taste of Rajasthani that cannot be found anywhere else. This is one of the most popular Rajasthani dishes and a complete meal in itself. Rajasthani Laal Maas is the most popular non-his vegetarian dish that originated in Jaisalmer. This Jaisalmer specialty is actually red meat cooked in a spicy curry. It is one of the best and most popular non vegetarian dishes in Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer Desert Festival
The Jaisalmer Desert Festival is a historical part of Jaisalmer and is deeply woven with legends and myths. It's been celebrated in the desert for centuries, but now it's bigger than ever. If you're in Jaisalmer in February, you can attend the 3-day non-stop celebration of lighting up the desert. See camel races, camel polo, air force shows, fun acrobatic performances and other activities. Participate in camel tattoo contests, tug-of-war, turban-tying contests and cricket matches. The extravaganza kicks off with a parade from the Jaisalmer Fort, with residents parading in traditional costumes and entertaining performances and skits.
Without a doubt, a tour to Jaisalmer offers an amazing introduction to India in a nutshell. Vibrant culture, age-old traditions and enchanting desert festivals are nothing short of magical and unforgettable. After enjoying all the things to do in Jaisalmer, you're sure to come back with a bag full of memories.
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